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Williams v. Brooks Trucking Company Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division

June 5, 2017

EMMETT L. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
BROOKS TRUCKING COMPANY INC. OF MEMPHIS, CANAL INSURANCE COMPANY, RICHARD A. MARCHETTI, JUDGE WILLIAM C. RUMER, BROWN & ADAMS, LLC, CLAYTON M. ADAMS, AUSTIN & SPARKS, P.C., JOHN T. SPARKS, SR., NALL & MILLER, LLP, MARK D. LEFKOW, Defendants.

          ORDER

          CLAY D. LAND CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         This case arises from a September 17, 2004 automobile collision between Plaintiff Emmett Williams and an employee of Defendant Brooks Trucking Company Inc. of Memphis ("Brooks Trucking"). Williams filed a state court personal injury action against Brooks Trucking and lost at trial ("personal injury action") . He claims that the loss was the result of Brooks Trucking's attorney, Defendant Richard Marchetti, having unlawful contact with the jury.[1] Proceeding pro se, Williams brought a state court action based on Marchetti's conduct ("state court constitutional action"). Williams lost that case. Still pro se, Williams now claims in this Court that all of the attorneys, parties, and the superior court judge involved in his state court actions violated his rights. Defendants move to dismiss or, alternatively, for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that all Defendants are entitled to dismissal and grants their motions (ECF Nos. 4, 13, 15, & 24). There is therefore no need to address some Defendants' alternative arguments for summary judgment. Williams also filed a motion indicating that he intends to obtain counsel. To the extent that Williams asks the Court to defer ruling on Defendants' motions until he does so, the Court denies that motion (ECF No. 49).

         STANDARD

         To survive a motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The factual allegations must be sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level ... on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact) ." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, "a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable." Id. at 556.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Williams does not dispute the authenticity of several state court documents offered by Defendants in support of their motions. Considering these documents and accepting Williams's factual allegations as true, the record reveals the following. See Horsley v. Feldt, 304 F.3d 1125, 1134 (11th Cir. 2002) ("[A] document attached to a motion to dismiss may be considered by the court without converting the motion into one for summary judgment only if the attached document is: (1) central to the plaintiff's claim; and (2) undisputed . . . mean[ing] that the authenticity of the document is not challenged.").

         I. Personal Injury Action

         On September 17, 2004, an employee of Defendant Brooks Trucking hit another car into Williams's vehicle. Brooks Trucking's Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 1, Compl. in SU-06-CV-2981-8 ¶¶ 5 & 6, ECF No. 15-3. Williams sued for damages in Muscogee County Superior Court, and the case proceeded to trial before Defendant Judge William Rumer. Defendant Marchetti represented Brooks Trucking at trial. Williams claims that during a lunch break on Saturday, October 13, 2012, Marchetti had contact with two jurors. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Brooks Trucking later that day.

         Williams moved for a new trial based on Marchetti's alleged contact with the jurors. Judge Rumer held an evidentiary hearing where Marchetti testified that he went to the bailiff's office for about fifteen minutes during the lunch break on October 13 to watch an Auburn/Old Miss football game. Marchetti et al.'s Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 8, PI. ' s Notice of Intent to Seek Cert. Ex. C, Marchetti Testimony 111:1-8, ECF No. 4-10 at 9. Apparently, in doing so, Marchetti walked by or through the jury room. Marchetti testified that he did not have contact with any of the jurors because the jurors were still at lunch. Id. at 111:9-112:9, ECF No. 4-10 at 9-10. Judge Rumer denied Williams's motion for new trial. Brooks Trucking's Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 11, Order Den. Mot. for New Trial in SU-ll-CV-2752- 05, ECF No. 15-13. Williams appealed, and the Georgia Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal due to Williams's failure to pay the filing fee. Brooks Trucking's Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 13, Order Dismissing Appeal in A14A1332, ECF No. 15-15.

         II. State Court Constitutional Action

         On August 4, 2013, Williams sued Marchetti, Brooks Trucking, and Canal Insurance Company, claiming that Marchetti violated his constitutional rights by tampering with the jury verdict in the personal injury action and lying about it under oath.[2] Brooks Trucking's Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 14, Compl. in SU- 15-CV-2322-05, ECF No. 15-16. On October 27, 2015, Judge Rumer granted Marchetti's, Brooks Trucking's, and Canal Insurance's motions to dismiss or, alternatively, for summary judgment. Brooks Trucking's Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 22, Order Granting Defs.' Respective Mots, to Dismiss/Mots, for Summ. J., ECF No. 15-24. Williams appealed and the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed. Brooks Trucking's Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 27, Order in No. A16A1793, ECF No. 15-29. Williams moved for reconsideration, which the court denied. Brooks Trucking's Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 36, Order Den. Mot. for Reconsideration in A16A1793, ECF No. 15-38. Williams appears to have indicated intent to seek certiorari from the United States Supreme Court, but it is unclear if he did. Brooks Trucking's Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 37, Notice of Intent to Seek Cert. 5, ECF No. 15-39. On March 10, 2017, Williams filed the present action in this Court.

         DISCUSSION

         Williams purports to assert claims for due process violations, discrimination under Title VII, violations of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, extortion, mail fraud, and racketeering. It is unclear what conduct Williams believes violates Title VII's prohibition of employment discrimination or the Thirteenth Amendment's prohibition of slavery, and the Court finds both of these provisions inapplicable to the facts of this case. Williams's claims of extortion and racketeering appear to be based on him paying a filing fee and other costs associated with the state court constitutional action. See PI.'s Resp. 4, ECF No. 33. Williams's claims for mail fraud appear to be based on Defendants serving Williams with documents throughout that litigation. See PL's Suppl. Resp. Ex. F, Mail Fraud, ECF No. 44. None of this conduct violates the law. The Court finds that Williams's claims are best characterized as 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims for violations of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

         I. Claims ...


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